College and University recreation facilities can offer different challenges than those of other markets. The student and staff population at a college often includes a wide variety of fitness levels and interests, and while paid memberships are usually less prevalent (or completely non-existent), it is still important for facility managers to do their best in meeting the needs of the school’s fitness community. Precor recently took a look at this problem, and were able to determine 4 major factors that play a large part in determining a top-notch recreation center. Below are those four factors, as well as our personal experience with how they play out in this market.

1. A Variety of Equipment
From the article, “College is a great time for students to branch out and discover the kinds of fitness they’re into.”

College students typically fall into the demographic of early-adopters, or those that are willing to try out a new fitness trend. While it may be impractical to fill your rec center with the ever-evolving “latest & greatest”, it is important to offer a large variety of equipment and programs to accommodate the different fitness interests and abilities often found in a college setting. At SUNY Cortland’s new student rec center, we were able to offer them everything from your typical Cardio floor, to a team cycling studio, to a functional fitness area dedicated to group HIIT training.

2. A Space to Connect
From the article, “Having room for group exercise classes is perfect for getting students involved in fitness, and a way for them to meet others. This allows you to appeal to a much broader range of students, versus solely having fitness equipment.”

In our experience, space dedicated to group exercise classes can have a very positive effect on a University rec center. We’ve found that one of the best ways to promote friendly competition and collaboration within a rec facility is with IFH Expresso Bikes. These virtual reality bikes allow riders to race head-to-head with a friend, or even set a time and send a recording of this ride (their Ghost) to a friend as a challenge. With Expresso’s monthly contests, groups of students can also work together to compete against other universities across the country. While there are many other collaborative programs and products available in our product portfolio, we’ve found Expresso bikes to be one of the absolute best at engaging and connecting a facility’s fitness community.

Manhattan College uses Expresso bikes to keep their students engaged.

Manhattan College uses Expresso bikes to keep their students engaged.

3. An Open Environment
From the article, “…make sure there’s ample room for people to actually breathe and stretch without interfering with those directly around them”

A tricky proposition in the facility planning process is finding a balance between having enough equipment to satisfy the college population, while leaving enough space to keep the facility functionally and aesthetically pleasing. Our ASF and CSF sales reps are each individually trained on space planning with AutoCAD, a precision planning tool. We also have a full-time space planner on hand to help with more complicated room designs. With so much experience in floor planning for college and university recreation centers, our sales reps are able to maximize your budget while maintaining high space functionality, keeping facility users satisfied and comfortable.



The rec center at UNC Wilmington is the epitome of open and bright.

The rec center at UNC Wilmington is the epitome of open and bright.

4. A Motivation Factor
From the article, “Give students and staff a reason to keep coming back. Preva accounts can be used to set and track fitness goals…”

While the first three factors will certainly help with user engagement, it’s important to keep a sharp focus on motivating students to keep coming back. While Expresso Bikes and Functional Fitness spaces can pique the interest of exercisers to try something new, goal setting and tracking can play a major part in user engagement. Nothing tracks and motivates better than Precor’s Preva software, which allows users to sign in, set a goal, and keep track of their progress throughout the week. Compatible with iPhone and Androids, the Preva App will even remind its users to get up and get to the gym to maintain their weekly pace – an automatic reminder to visit your recreation center! 


Check out the entire article from Precor here.

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